Friday, February 13, 2004

F the Messenger
The Progress Report leads off today with news of an intensely ugly smear campaign against Max Cleland, in retaliation for his criticism of Bush's National Guard record. The smearer: Ann Coulter. The enablers: the Heritage Foundation, TownHall.com, Fox News, and other media outlets disseminating Coulter's latest column, in which she accuses Cleland of exaggerating his record in Vietnam, including the loss of three limbs. (The Los Angeles Times has it right: "absurd and insulting.") Conservatives have gone nuclear with shocking speed on critics of Bush's National Guard record--which says to me that even they know his record won't stand up to continued close scrutiny, so they're desperate to change the subject.

A friend of mine called last night--we were talking about the Bush interview on Meet the Press, and he said it was weird that Bush felt he had to say "I'm a war president." Michael Moore thinks it's weird too--but he also thinks he knows the reason. In an open letter to Bush, Moore says, "Americans have never voted out a Commander-in-Chief during a war. I guess that's what you're hoping for."

Recommended reading: The Boston Globe's Don Aucoin on a really f---in' interesting phenomenon in the English language.

And finally, Miracle, the hit movie about the U.S. Olympic hockey victory over the Soviet Union in 1980, has special resonance up here. Two members of the team, Mark Johnson and Bob Suter, are well-known Madison sports figures, so we feel like the 1980 team belongs to us in a way different from the rest of the country. But even in cities not as favored as Madison, beating the Russians is considered by many to be the greatest single sports moment of the 20th century. This week, ESPN Radio asked fans to name their personally memorable sports moments, and it got me thinking about mine. (Because I know that not everyone who reads this blog cares about sports, I've posted my list here so it's more easily ignored.) I have to confess that the 1980 "miracle on ice" is not one of them, because I was apparently working that night and didn't see the game--not until ESPN Classic rebroadcast it in 2003.

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